Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The more the merrier

We are going to attempt our new homeschooling schedule starting next Tuesday. We will also have a new addition to the "family." No I am not pregnant! Our good friend Lynni has decided to homeschool this year and she will be joining us in our home and on many of our adventures. Everyone is very excited!

We got together today for a trip to NASA. They have a Mars exhibit that is ending this month and we wanted to check it out before it was gone. Now that school has started for the masses, we can venture out to public places again!



 Designing and launching rockets.


 Searching for signs of water on Mars.


 Surgery in space!


 Attempting to stump a robot. The kids choose which squares will rise up and the robot has to find its way to the other side.


 Hanging out on the red planet.





 I think Mirek has a new crush.





We welcome Lynni to our family and into our home with open arms and we look forward to exploring and learning about the world together. Let the adventures begin!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mail, acorns, mummies, concerts, and gymnastics

I am sticking to my resolution to keep in touch with friends and family through mail.


Acorns! One of nature's greatest toys.


Dumping a bowl of acorns on his head.


Acorn math.


When the kids are testing my patience we play "mummies." It gives me a break for a bit.



Little boy princess with a light saber.


My own personal concert.



Excuse Mirek's crying. He wanted his light saber back.


Eaden made some necklaces for her cousins.


And then wanted to make some for her gymnastics teammates. One necklace led to many bracelets and other hand made gifts for the coach and team.


Eaden's first meet was on Saturday. She did really well and will be competing placement in the next meet. Unfortunately, she is the only one on her team that will be competing placement. That means it is just her and the coach during her session. She does not want to do this. She does not want to do private lessons either because she only wants to do gymnastics as a team. I think this is a good thing.

 However, she will need to get used to not always competing with her team. Once a gymnast does placement they are divided by age and everyone does not always compete at the same time.

Here is her floor routine from Saturday.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Daddy's birthday and more planning

 We celebrated my husband's birthday at my parents' house on Saturday. Food and football.

Hands full of watermelon.


 Taven testing out his new (hand me down) bike that his buddy Aidan gave him.


 We know fall is near when we can start a cicada "skin" collection.


To thank Aidan for the bike we made him a friendship bracelet.


 Taven wrote a little note.


 And we stuck it in the mail!


We have also been busy making Rainbow Warrior badges for our friends.


 My husband's actual birthday was Monday. I really love the picture Naia drew for him of our family.


Here they are waiting for Daddy to get home from work. Eaden has been working on crossing her eyes.




 Mirek had a hard time patiently waiting for the cake.



 Here is a video of the surprise!


 I found some colored sand while cleaning on top of the book case and we decided to use it up.



 I am still working on our schedule and rhythm, revising and editing as needed.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Turning your face to the sun

I read this on my Facebook feed a few days ago...

"A private life is a happy life."

 First of all, this is obviously not always true. However, I understand what whoever said it is trying to say. It can especially be true with all of the social media pervading our lives nowadays. To keep your life private may simply mean you are not on all of these sites. That in itself could easily lead to a happier life. More fulfilling and meaningful days.

 There IS real value in sharing though.

Like everything else, it's about balance (not balance as in 50/50 but balance as in 95/5). It is also about respecting your kids. Things spread like wildfire on the internet. I think keeping to one platform is best. For example, if I am blogging I should not also be on Facebook.

No Facebook!

 I think it's good to share (with kids you have to think about them obviously), but Facebook is more of a waste of time in my opinion. Also, I cannot stand all of the advertising. As soon as I googled how to fix my toilet there were toilet ads all over my feed. I don't like that. It's creepy.

So I got contacts and I seriously plan on hanging out more and writing mail. Lot's of mail! Real letters with real sharing in them. Making real friends and having real relationships. I look forward to having a box of letters from friends to go back and reread in the future. The kids will also get in on the action. We love decorating envelopes in new and exciting ways too.

I do not want "friends" you only see through a screen. I want friends like this!

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/115264071684060647/

So what do you do if you find yourself with a minute and there is no Facebook to check?

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/115264071684195965/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/115264071684187321/
http://www.phoebewahl.com/

 I have quit Facebook numerous times in the past by the way, but I am determined to make this time the last! It's awesome! Deleting a Facebook account is such a great feeling (maybe that is why I do it so much)!

So what to do?

 Usually I read a book, but maybe I should pick up knitting...no I actually do not enjoy it. Plus we do not have need of much knitted items in this part of Texas. I've always wanted to make a habit of cross stitch. It may not have much use, but it is nice to look at. Reading, cross stitch, letter writing, scrapbooking, playing a card game with the kids, going for a walk, sitting on the porch.

Being present.

http://www.maryengelbreit.com/

There is so much left to do without social media taking up every nook and cranny of your life! If you have an account, but do not get on much, good for you! If you have one and are always on, delete it! A lot of people use the excuse that family is on Facebook and they never get to see them or they live so far away. Come on people! Facebook has not been around that long but somehow friends and family stayed in touch! There are so many ways to stay in touch and more meaningful ways too!

So stop looking down at your computer screen, tablet and/or phone AND...

http://www.maryengelbreit.com/

Thursday, August 14, 2014

An Unschooling Schedule?

 I think of unschooling as allowing your child/children to follow their own interests. 

Here is a question. If a parent plans out a day (or month) like I did in my previous post, can I consider myself an unschooler? Perhaps not. Who cares really. Another question. How will your child know what their interests are if you do not expose them to many different things? I don't think they can. Of course, they will find something that interests them, but many other possible interests are left unexplored.

This is why I created a monthly plan for my family. We learn about various predetermined topics and if something interests any of the kids, we can explore the topic further.

I think true unschooling, where one really pursues their own passions with complete freedom, would be better suited for the older child that has already come into contact with a wide variety of subjects, issues, etc.

I would always say about my daughter Naia that "she is not interested in reading" or "she doesn't like to read." Well today I sat her down with our Phonics Pathways book. She was slumped over, moaning and groaning. I said "come on, let's just do one page." She hesitated at first, but after finally sounding out a word on her own she got a huge grin on her face. 

Now can this possibly be a bad thing? To nudge our children just a bit? Perhaps they will discover a new passion that they never knew they had.

So is unschooling about parents helping their children to discover themselves? Can a plan help with this? I think in the case of our family, it can.

In the end, I don't think it matters exactly what we do or what we choose to call ourselves. I think what matters is that we homeschool. That we keep our kids home, together, with their families. I think what matters is that someone who truly loves and cares for a child raises that child. I am not saying that some teachers do not love their students but of course no one loves a child like their parent. 

So I always go back to my truths...

 All you need is less. Not only is this true of STUFF but it is true for curriculum as well. Library books are all we really need. We do use Horizons Phonics and Math, but I am not going to buy the Phonics from here on out. We like the Math and will stick with it. All of my kids enjoy it and ask me to help them with it nearly every day.

So, in summary, less of everything is best. Except library books. More is always better!


Involving kids in as much as possible is always the best route. I do not mean going overboard with classes and activities, but simply showing the kids how to do things around the house. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, fixing things. If Grandpa can help out with power tools and carpentry, great! 

Don't just read about rockets, build them!


Which leads me to the next picture. If you don't know how to do something, do it! This can be intimidating, but it works!


And most importantly, let the kids be kids! Let them play.


Get them outside!

It can be tough for us city dwellers to get somewhere worth exploring, but we have to do it. As much as I love my home and I love spending time there, my backyard sucks. Unschoolers on acreage have got it made. Unschoolers in the city have to work. I also have to keep reminding myself to find a balance. Spending beaucoup bucks on precious gas to get to that awesome creek is not something we can afford to do every day or even every week.


Home is still where the heart is.


In the end, what do I want for my kids?





I want them to discover who they are. I want them to be proud of who they are. I want them to do what they love and to not give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks. I want them to LIVE.

Oh! And I want to do all of this with them.